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CSU veterinary program tops national rankings

Fourth-year doctorate student of Veterinary Medicine, Taylor Zumbusch, provides good news about the state of Mia's (the dog) health to dog owner and CSU student, Cory Robinson. Zumbusch spends much of her time at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital gaining hands-on experience with animals and their owners.
Fourth-year doctorate student of Veterinary Medicine, Taylor Zumbusch, provides good news about the state of Mia’s (the dog) health to dog owner and CSU student, Cory Robinson. Zumbusch spends much of her time at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital gaining hands-on experience with animals and their owners.

Colorado State’s graduate program in veterinary medicine is ranked third in the country, and has remained among the top three for at least 20 years. From clinical training to research, there are a number of things that make the Professional Veterinary Medicine  program stand out, but it really comes down to the commitment to a vision.

“Dr. James Voss, who the hospital is named after, opened this hospital in ‘79 and he wanted a premier teaching hospital, not just for service to the community, but also for research and client care — and I think we’ve gotten there,” said Dr. Timothy Hackett, the interim hospital director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

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According to Hackett, what makes CSU’s program so good is the amount of time students spend in the clinic, and their exposure to world-class research.

“We owe our credit to Dr. Voss,” said Dr. Dean Hendrickson, associate dean of CVMBS who oversees PVM. “He realized the strongest veterinary programs would be the ones that combined clinical training and research.”

The professional veterinary medicine program is housed in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, according to Coleman Cornelius, CVMBS director of communications.

The CVMBS is home to a lot of different programs, some of which are world renowned, according to Cornelius, but the vet school is the one that actually receives the ranking. Cornelius said that the consistent top three ranking is a “testament to our ongoing quality.”

Hendrickson explains that due to the volume of patients and ability of the staff, veterinarians continually see new problems and are able to research these problems quickly. They can then present the solutions to CSU students before other schools and other researchers have a chance to learn about them.

“In many cases they get the information before anyone else does,” Hendrickson said. “It really makes a wonderful marriage of getting to have brand new information all the time.”

The ability for students to learn in this type of environment is what makes CSU a great training facility for veterinarians, according to Hendrickson.

“I think what makes a good veterinarian is one that actually has a good basis in physiology and understanding that can then translate that into whatever new thing they’re seeing,” Hendrickson said.

Hackett said that the opportunity for students to take what they learn in their first two years of the program and apply it during their third and fourth years in the vet teaching hospital is unique. He says that this combination gives our graduates a leg up when they are applying for jobs.

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“Veterinarians make great researchers because they have diverse knowledge about different species that they must apply when it comes to treatment,” Hackett said. “There is an expectation that a new graduate from CSU can hit the ground running.”

Aside from the international recognition, a veterinarian’s diverse knowledge can have impacts on human medicine as well. Hackett explains that some of the first total hip replacements were done at CSU on dogs. Research in the oncology program on bone cancer, a disease common in dogs but rare in humans, can help children avoid more drastic treatments.

“All of the sudden this (research) gave children that had bone cancer an alternative to losing their leg,” Hackett said.

Hendrickson points out that the national rankings of are based on peer reviews, with other schools recognizing the strength of CSU’s veterinary program. Hackett said this ranking is special for the school and the hospital.

“We’ve been consistently right here near the top for going on two decades, and that’s something everyone takes pride in,” Hackett said.

Collegian Science Beat Reporter Remi Boudreau can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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